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the total durations, which is the least certain, the mean of the other five means, gives the sun's parallax = 8,557.
It, therefore, incontestibly follows, that the sun's parallax, as far as can be determined from the observations made on the jate tranfit of Venus, is 8":56. Art. 52. An Ejay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of
Chances. By the late Rev. Mr. Bayes, F.R.S. Communicated by Mr. Price, in a Letter to John Canton, M. A. F. R. S.
The question here solved, is of the utmost importance, as it will torm a solid foundation for all our reasonings concerning paft facts, and what is likely to happen hereafter. The problem is this:
6 Given the number of times in which an unknown event has happened and failed: required the chance that the probability of its happening in a single trial lies somewhere between any two degrees of probability that can be delind.'
As we have not room to follow this able Mathematician thro' the laborious task of solving this interesting problem, we shall only observe, that the subject is pursued in a very conspicuous manner, and highly merits the attention of Mathematicians. Art. 55. A Discourse on the Parallax of the Sun. By the Rev.
Thomas Hornby, M. A. Savilian Professor of Astronomy in the University of Oxford, and F.R.S.
After giving an historical account of the methods used by the most able Astronomers for determining the sun's parallax, and the result of these methods, which made it 9.92, before the late tranfit of Venus; Mr. Hornsby proceeds to deduce th parallax from the various observations made in different parts of the world on that phenomenon; and from a result of a comparison of the best observations made in places whose longitudes are as accurately ascertained as the present state of Astronomy will permit, the sun's parallax on the day of the tranfit, appears to be 8”,692 ; but in this comparison the observations made by Mr. Pingré at Rodrigues are rejected.
The Profesor then compares the above obfervations with those made by Mr. Pingré at Rodrigues, and the mean of those comparisons gives the sun's parallax = 9',732. And in this quantity of the sun's parallax, adds Mr. Hornsby, we must either acquiesce, or remain as ignorant of the true quantity of it, as we were before, till we can have recourse to the next transit, on June 3, 1769, when the planet Venus will again pass over the sun's disc, having something more than 10 minutes of north
latitude; and will be so favourably circumstanced, that if the errors in observing each contact, do not exceed 4 or 5', the quantity of the sun's parallax may be determined within less than one hundredth part of the whole.'
As the difference of these two results are owing wholly to the observations made in places to the north of the Equinoctial, compared with those made by Mr. Pingré, at the island of Rodrigues, it will follow, that if there should be an error in the latter, the parallax itfelf will also be erroneous, and the difference resulting from the above comparisons, will be likewise more or less, according to the nature and tendency of this error. Mr. Short, in a paper. already mentioned in this article, observes, that in the memoir of Mr. Pingré, the time of the internal contact at the egress at Rodrigues, is set down at oh. 36 min. 49 sec. But in the same volume there is an account of Mr. Pingré's observation, sent to the Royal Academy before his arrival in Europe, and the time of the internal contact is therein set down at o h. 34 min. 47 fec. Allo in a letter from him to the Royal Society, on his arrival at Lisbon, dated the 6th of March, 1762, and inserted in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. LII. Part I. the time of the internal contact at on. 34 min. 47 sec, true time. This is also repeated in another letter to the Royal Society, dated the 14th of March, 1762. If therefore we take o h. 34 min. 47 sec. for the true time, which, from several powerful reasons urged by Mr. Short, seems to be the real truth, we shall find that the result of the comparison will give the sun's parallax = 8“,62, agreeing very well with that resulting from those made on the north side of the Equinoctial, compared with the observations made by Mr. Mason at the Cape of Good Hope. Art. 56. A Discourse on the Locus for three and four Lines, celebrated among the ancient Geometers. By Henry Pemberton, M.D. F.R.S. Lond. et R. A. Berol. S. In a Letter to the Reverend Thomas Birch, D. D. Secretary to the Royal Society.
This is one of the most curious and elegant papers we ever remember to have seen on this interesting subject, the very nature of which will not admit of any abridgment, without a number of figures : suffice it, therefore, in this place, that we recommend it to the perusal of those who are desirous of being acquainted with thefe fubjects; and we will venture to promile, they will not think the time they employ in perusing it, spent in vain.
The Origin of Language and Nations, hieroglifically, etymologically,
and topographically defined and fixed, after the Method of an English, Celtic, Greek, and Latin English Lexicon. Together with an historical Preface, an hieroglyfical Definition of Characters, a Celtic general Grammar, and various other Matters of Antiquity, treated in a Method entirely new. By Rowland Jones, Efq; of the Inner Temple. 8vo. 10 s. 6d. bound. Dodley.
E look upon the work before us, to be as fingular a
production as most our age and country have produced. At the same time also, we are obliged to confess, that we are not fufficiently versed in the Celtic, ancient Phrygian or Welch language, to determine the merit of this very laborious performance. We muit, therefore, content ou felves with giving foire account of the Author's general dcfign, and a specimen of its execution.
With regard to the former, we cannot define it better, perhaps, than in the words of the Author; wherein he intimates the advantages he prefumes it may be of to mankind; submitting it to the public in general, whether the illustrating, defining, and fixing the ancient language, origin, and antiquities of the prisocial Çumbri, the gallant Galli, and the primæval Celtes, with natural precition, will not accumulate honour, glory, and dignity upon the Cumbri-Galli-Celtes, aid the operations of the human understanding, and tend towards the advance'ment of learning in general, or, at lealt, to the restoration of of ancient knowlege. Our Author farther hopes also, that as the confusion of language was productive of great disorders, disputes, and disunion amongst mankind, this attempt to restore their ancient language, may be the means of reconciling and uniting them. This is, indeed, a circumstance more devoutly to be wished than hoped for. It must be confefled, however, it would be a fine bone for the Critics, if the Weyb should, after all, turn out to have been the first, and prove to be the last, of human languages, agreeable to the preconceptions of the retrospective and anticipative views of Mr. Rowland Jones. How would our Philosophers and Philologists be confounded also, to find that they have been racking their brains to discover an universal language, when they had, all the while, one in their hands that they were unable to read!
There is something very curious, we cannot say quite fa fatisfactory, in our Author's Celtic Grammar, and his abfervations on the formation and meaning of letters; our Readers, however, will probably be more entertained, and full as much
improved, by what he advances on the origin of speech in ge* neral,
As in the course of this work, says he, I have shewn the original plan, and conftrution of human speech, to be intelligent, regular, and rational, as the nature and qualities of fubftances, modes and relations of general subjects, are represented by general signs, either figuratively or orderly, as the respective invifible qualitics center in hieroglyfical objects, and those again abstracted and divided by circumstanial negative or privative particles, agreeable to the order of nature, in its formation out of the first elements, I fall here only observe in general, that it has been the opinion of the wiseft part of mankind, that Adam was furnished with a scheme of language by God himself, that this seems to be implied by that passage of Scripture, wherein God is faid to have brought the beasts and birds before Adam, to fee, or perhaps to oversee, what he would call them, and by Adam's giving names to the several parts of nature, agreeable to the property and qualities thereof, and as the Deity appears to have made use of a form of speech, previous to the formation of Adam, in giving names to the several parts of the creation, which indeed seem
to comprehend the genera of human speech, and as man is said to have been made after God's own image, and in his own likeness, I think that language ought not to be considered as mere arbitrary sounds, or any thing less than a part, at least, of that living foul, which God is said to have breathed into man; and though the organs of parrots and other birds, are capable of articulate sounds, they utter them only when they are taught, and that without any conception of what they express ; else their
progress in language would have advana ced, so far as was necessary for their own preseryation and conveniency; nor can the fagacity of the owl, whose optics are adapted to see best in the dark, or the instinct of other brute animals, wherein they ape human nature, be any objection to the divine origin of language; neither is it conceivable that the human soul, a portion of the universal spirit, could of itself modify or frame abstract ideas, or their signs, or those of mixed modes and relations, without a previous modification or interposition of the Deity; and those primary signs transmitted from Adam amongst his posterity, and preserved at all times in some corner of the world, whereby such as once lost their language at Babel, might again recover a rational scheme of speech. It is also remarkable, that man of all animals in the expresion of joy and admiration makes use of the o, which fignifies eternity; but other animals seem to found the letter a, signifying the earth ; man also is upright, with his countenance towards heaven; but beasts look downwards upon the earth, as if their ut
most joy and pleasure centered there. Besides all nature, acsording to the Pfalmift, declares this handy work of Providence, even the dull sheep, though perhaps insensibly, calls out ba, which signifies an earthly animal.'
The judicious Reader will, from this specimen of the preface, form fome idea of what he may expect from the work; a fhort fpecimen of which we shall give on the word Babel.
< Babel was called so from ba-bi-el, beings calling like bas, or sheep ; it does not appear clearly, whether there was a total deletion of the old language, or a temporary impediment of speech, occafioned by thunder and lightning, or other terrible appearance, wherein the Divine Majesty was pleased to visit thofe doers of iniquity, who had profefledly undertaken to build this tower, in order to prevent their being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, contrary to God's express command, as in Genesis ix. ver. 7. and Gen. xi. ver. 4 and 8. wherein Moses considers the building of Babel as a violation of God's command; hence this cannot be called an indifferent act. It seems proiable, that the elements, at least, of the original language were preserved, as the names and appellations of persons and places previous to the confusion, as well as those subsequent, are defined in this Lexicon ; unless the Celtic nation had no concern in the Babylonian affair ; but it is likely that this language, as it thus defines the prediluvian as well as the postdiluvian names, and gives the etymology of languages preferable to any other, must have existed before the confusion of languages; and if all the world then spoke in one language, this must be it; nor can it be true that the Phænicians were first poffefTed of letters, or that Cadmus carried thein from 'the Phænicians into Greece ; but it seems most likely, that he had them from the Druids, Etrurians, or Umbri of Italy, the ancestors of the Celtes, where he had been in quest of his fifter nation Europa ; besides, it remains a doubt, what country Cadmus was of; tho' fupposed to be an Egyptian, from his naming the city he built in Baotia Thebes, after the name of the Egyptian Thebais.'
On the whole, we have nothing to say to the historical part of this work, as the Author seems, in most cases, to have adhered to proper authority; nor do we entirely condemn his etymologies: the scheme, however, of reconciling the present Orthoepy, or the pronunciation of words to the original tense annexed to similar founds, we conceive to be, for the most part, chimerical. Nay, tho' the Writer of this article hath ftill fome Welsh blood in his veins, he doth really think, that Mons. Bergier's pretensions *, in favour of the Hebrew,
* Sce Appendix to the last volume of the Review.